The 10 most violent video games of 2017, alternatives

Jeff Haynes
Common Sense Media

Every year, game graphics become more realistic and immersive, bringing players closer to the action and story than ever before. With violent video games, this realism ratchets up the brutality. Despite that, video game promotions target kids way younger than the games’ age rating. Trailers, demos, blogs, and more air on TV, go viral on social media, and are discussed endlessly on game sites. Marketers advertise the excitement, the depth of realism, and the cool gameplay — but they often don’t tell you exactly how violent the games are.

Many parents whose kids ask for these games (or set up a line of credit on game sites such as Steam) may know that the games are violent, but not the specific kinds of violence they contain. Below are 10 of the most extreme titles to come out this year, along with two alternatives for each game, one for younger players and one for older players.

“Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition:” Few sci-fi action games push the envelope as much as “Bulletstorm,” which focuses on players using guns, kicks, and an electric whip-like device to destroy their opponents. There’s plenty of blood, gore, and dismemberment, and players get points for killing enemies in extreme ways.

Alternative sci-fi action: “ReCore: Definitive Edition” (12+), “Gravity Rush 2” (14+)

“Conan Exiles:” This massively multiplayer online role-playing game is full of bloody, gory hack-and-slash action that includes decapitations and dismemberment. Other game events highlight the brutality of Conan’s world, its environment, and its subject matter, which includes cannibalism, torture, and human sacrifice.

Alternate MMOs: “Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns” (12+), “Marvel Heroes 2016” (13+)

“Dark Souls III: The Ringed City:” The end of this incredibly difficult action role-playing game franchise doesn’t skimp on the blood, gore, or shock factor, as fantasy creatures moan and gush blood when struck by medieval weapons. Bodies are frequently seen scattered throughout the environment, and players will slash, impale, and smash enemies to pieces.

Alternate action RPGs: “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” (10+), “Horizon Zero Dawn” (13+)

“Dead by Daylight:” In this slasher game, a remorseless killer hunts down survivors to sacrifice them to an evil entity, using a variety of weapons to hack, stab, and impale characters. Injured players may crawl on the ground, leaving pools of blood behind and can be hung on meat hooks in brutal death sequences.

Alternative scary games: “Five Nights at Freddy’s 4” (12+), “Darkest Dungeon” (16+)

“For Honor:” Combat between three factions plays a major role in this action fighting game set in a medieval fantasy world. Each entity tries to assert its dominance over the others using melee weapons, such as swords, pikes, and spears. Kills are frequently shown in close-up with large splashes of blood, while plenty of arenas show severed heads on spikes and other gruesome imagery. Players also slaughter dozens, if not hundreds of computer-controlled enemies wholesale with no ability to negotiate peace.

Alternate multiplayer action games: “Portal Knights” (10+), “Fortnite” (13+)

“Friday the 13th: The Game:” Like a digital version of the horror movie franchise, this multiplayer slasher game places one player in the role of Jason hunting down and killing opponents, who assume the roles of different camp counselors. Adding a sexual angle to the violence (a potentially harmful combination for tweens and teens), the female characters are scantily clad or skinny-dipping. while they are being hunted down. Grisly violence abounds. as characters are killed with weapons, environmental objects, or even Jason’s bare hands. The cut scenes and gameplay feature tons of blood and gore.

Alternative action games: “Cuphead” (10+), “Alan Wake” (14+)

“Outlast II:” Gory scares run throughout this bloody horror game, which forces players to try their best to escape from cultists wielding weaponry and farm implements. These enemies only want to catch and torture the player in bloody, gruesome ways, and multiple scenes of viscera and stabbing are frequently shown, as well as the violent birth of the Antichrist.

Alternate scary games: “Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon” (9+), “Zombie Vikings” (13+)

“PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds:” Gamers try their best to be the last one standing in this online shooter, which throws up to 100 players into a constantly shrinking arena. Whether using firearms, cars, melee weapons, or bare hands, you have to try to kill everyone you come across to ensure your safety. Even alliances between players can quickly be tossed aside in favor of points and survival, undermining the concepts of cooperation, loyalty, and teamwork.

Alternative shooters: “Hard Reset Redux” (10+), “Destiny 2” (13+)

“Resident Evil 7 Biohazard:” Scares aren’t the only thing to shock gamers in this violence-packed game that glorifies cruelty as players use shotguns, chainsaws, explosives, and other weapons against human and inhuman creatures. There are plenty of disturbing images of open wounds and injuries, and characters are dismembered, impaled, or killed in brutal ways.

Alternative survival action games: “Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare” 2 (10+), “Adr1ft” (13+)

“Sniper Elite 4:” War games frequently highlight massive casualties, but this World War II shooter casts the player as a sniper. Using knives, explosives, and a variety of firearms, you travel to some of the most dangerous locations of the war to conduct stealthy attacks against Nazi soldiers. Unfortunately, there aren’t any nonviolent attack options, so these strikes are simply ways to kill enemies without poking the ant hill of enemies that scour the grounds looking for you once they’ve detected something’s amiss. On top of this, some kills are slowed down and highlighted with graphic X-ray visuals indicating the brutality of the damage inflicted on its target from a fired bullet.

Alternative shooter games: “Splatoon 2” (10+), “Overwatch” (13+)